The U.S. Government states that the Affordable Care Act has three main objectives:
- Improve quality of healthcare while lowering healthcare costs
- Give everyone access to healthcare
- Protect the healthcare consumer
These are very nice goals – motherhood and apple pie nice to be specific. But, with these nice, laudable, and simple goals comes the reality of marketing in a post ACA world. For medical device companies, the realities are that:
- The priorities for decision-making have shifted in most provider organizations.
- The decision-making power has shifted in many provider organizations.
- The economic justification for decision has been elevated in most provider organizations.
As a result of these shifts in the marketing and selling of medical devices, companies and their reps have to be nimble and speak multiple “languages” within a provider organization. A rep may go from educating surgeons and operating room staff to a value analysis committee meeting to negotiations with a purchasing manager, all in the course of a day. This requirement to be MacGyver-like is daunting for the best of companies and their reps.
So what is the solution for marketing and sales in a post-ACA world?
- Reps need to be able to switch from clinical educator, to value expert, to HCAHPS aficionado, to bundled deal-maker in the click of a tablet app button. From the scrub sink to the flat screen in a board room, they have to be ready to communicate detailed information without having a large service animal to carry reams of paper.
- Companies have to be more cost effective in enabling non-manpower buying on the part of multiple constituencies within the provider organization. Intelligent, web-based systems need to be designed to enable touch of a button access to answers and to push relevant content out based upon psychographic and other behavioral profiles.
- With all of this, reps are still vital and awareness-generating marketing communications tactics are still vital. And, of course, consumer marketing plays a big role in creating awareness and demand for advanced technologies.
In one suite of apps and interactive PDFs developed for a client by DevicePharm, reps can:
- Make a clinical presentation,
- Schedule a demo and unit shipment from the iPad,
- Send a broad array of clinical and economic content via email,
- Capture that information transfer back into the CRM system,
- Perform an on-the-fly economic analysis of the entire product portfolio for a hospital.
This is just the beginning. The CliffsNotes™ version is that technology will enable companies to reach a broader range of constituents with personalized and relevant communications by applying a post-ACA mindset to the planning process.
Brian Famigletti, MBA
Vice President & Managing Director, Minnesota